Not everyone does the big family Christmas in South Africa. There are those couples, individuals, or nuclear families who just want to get away from it all.
And there’s a lot to be said for having someone else cater for you, even if it’s only breakfast, so that you can enjoy Christmas without the fuss.
Whilst Christmas in South Africa is a busy time of year for hotels, lodges and guest houses, we’ve carefully selected those with some available space left over Christmas for last minute bookings!
Cast your eye downwards. You won’t be disappointed…
Christmas in South Africa – be inspired
In amongst the undulating hills of the Midlands are a series of beautiful villas in the heart of a private game farm, where not only do you get to experience safari in amongst white rhino, buffalo, some small carnivores and various antelope, but the three rivers, waterfalls, mistbelt forests and general sense of peace make this a natural escape for Christmas.
Set on a regenerative farm that forms part of the Lion’s Bush conservancy, this retreat-style guesthouse lies in amongst the foothills of the Drakensberg surrounded by indigenous mistbelt forest. Partial to quiet country-style living, this permaculture farm and restorative space is perfect for a Christmas in South Africa.
It’s hardly surprising that this beautiful lodge won one of SA-Venues.com’s Best Luxury Lodge awards. From its setting in the Kamberg Valley at the foot of a mountain, you’re perfectly positioned to experience the Midlands Meander, Kamberg San rock art and the many hikes of the area.
It doesn’t come terribly much better than this boutique hotel set in the midst of a wildlife estate with panoramic views of the sea and the bush on South Africa’s wildest coastline. Indulge in walks on the beach, game viewing, scenic drives and local hikes. The restaurant is open for three meals a day.
Otterskloof does ‘beautiful’ with a particular nonchalance that is appealing if you consider its views over the Van Der Kloof Dam and its 14 000 hectare dramatic Karoo landscape. The game reserve has a number of Cape clawless otters in its unique river system. But hurry as availability is limited.
You’re surrounded by the hills and valley of the Caledon River valley here in the southern Free State on a game reserve that considers itself an ecological refuge, with a secluded bush camp and thatched chalets. The Bush Camp sounds particularly appealing, connected by a descending wooden staircase and observation decks, an outdoor fire pit and dining under the stars.
Lots of room in this inn for Christmas with views over the Yacht Basin and False Bay, as well as the incredible mountains up behind this seaside town. And you’re close to Cape Point and Boulders Beach.
Views from this beautiful guest house take in the sea, the lagoon, and the mountains. Grotto beach is a five minute’ walk, and there are hiking trails onto the mountain from the back door. Each of the six guest suites has its own private patio and there’s a decadent breakfast to look forward to every morning.
You’ll have to move on any last minute decision at Mosaic Farm, as they’re almost fully booked for Christmas already. But we couldn’t not include it, given its magnificent lagoon side location and mountain views. Besides, your stay includes all meals and beverages, beach excursions etc. It’s all laid on for you.
If you’re wanting to shake off the city blues this this is your place. Stay in riverside tented suites under a series of jackalberry and Tamboti trees. Summerfields lies in amongst a 100 acre macadamia, granadilla and litchi farm not far from Kruger National Park and the Panorama Route. Five star ‘barefoot luxury’. Perfect.
This Limpopo private game reserve includes a number of private lodges in its 22 000 hectares, with the type of landscapes you read about only in books – wide open savanna, dense bushveld, forested hills, and huge ravines. The star of the show, though, is Hanglip Mountain (the lodge here has only 10 en-suite rooms).
Phumelelo gives you a classic Big 5 safari break within the Mabalingwe Nature Reserve. It’s African themed chalets (there are only four) give you river or mountain views and that real Out of Africa experience. Dining is in the central lodge.
Set within the south-western portion of the Pilanesberg Game Reserve (malaria-free) Shepherd’s Tree lies up against the Wilderness Area, an untouched part of the reserve where you can do walking trails. There are 13 suites available, each with its own kitchenette. But there’s a restaurant in the main lodge.
Mogalakwena is a unique combination of a River Lodge, craft art village, artists’ retreat and research centre. But it’s River Lodge where you’ll experience the type of elegant, tasteful hospitality that makes Christmas memorable.
This pretty, understated (in typical KZN style) lodge lies within the Everton Conservancy, home to bushbuck, duiker, bush pig and caracal. With only two suites available, you’re guaranteed privacy, quiet and eight acres of indigenous garden.
You’ll find this safari lodge at the foot of the Swartberg. The rooms are on a B&B basis, but lunch and dinner are available on request. What makes it extra special is sunrise and sunset game drives, in the midst of the Karoo.